No hostile environment! AAWG/WAR women speak at Extinction Rebellion

AAWG-atOil+MoneyProtest_MomentMy name is Bertha and I am from the All African Women’s Group. We are a self-help group of asylum seeking women and refugees from many countries. Many of us have fled from War, Poverty, Domestic violence and Environmental damage.

I grew up in South Nigeria, the Delta Region which is very wealthy in resources.  Oil and gas exploration, fuel being flared daily and oil spills causes Acid Rains, “Black Soot”!! and massive environmental pollution of the creeks and rivers. Fish are killed and the soil is polluted to the root so nothing grows. Science has proved this many times but it has been ignored!

People’s livelihoods are destroyed. People are forced to leave; suffer many health problems and life continues to be miserable for us. Life expectancy is between 45 to 53 years old. Women and children are badly affected because when there is no food it is women who are the ones searching for something to eat for survival.

Our communities in the Delta are the poorest because the wealth from oil and gas are stolen by corruption from government and their foreign cronies.

Shell BP has been there since 1953 – the longest and is the mother (father!) of all other oil companies [such as Elf Oil (France), Agip Oil (Italy), Mobil Oil (US), Hali-Burtain Oil (US), Total Oil etc.]

Clean-ups and restoration promised to the Delta Region after the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa have not been done. Shell behaves like the communities around these degraded sites are “not worthy to live.”

We are here because we are forced to leave our countries and then we face a hostile and racist environment here from government which is determined to keep us out and keep all the resources for themselves. We won’t allow this.

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I am Jacquelin, I come from Mexico and I am part of the All African Women’s Group. We are pleased to be here as part of this big movement claiming climate justice. We are raising our voices, we women, linking this movement with immigration issues.   Our countries of the south are the biggest payee of climate change starting with hundreds of years of western countries’ extractivism, theft and conquest. This is the wealth that their empires are built on.

Today is the day of oil and money. Mexico is the fourth largest oil producer and the thirteenth largest exporter. Mining and extraction of oil has devastating impacts, loss of mountain landscapes, toxic waste and the demolition of entire ecosystems. Local agricultural is destroyed to make room for oil fields. Indigenous women have been leading the struggle against this for years.

NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, US and Canada, allows private companies to bypass national law, including environmental laws and social security measures. As a result, people suffer forced evictions, contaminated land and water, and intimidation and other injustices at the hands of mining companies. The World Bank protects the big companies.

We demand they stop their killing projects which are there just to swell their pockets.  

We are involved in XR on behalf of our families and communities back home and to make visible their struggle against the exploitation which has resulted in the changes to the climate which are now affecting us most. We are involved because the way we are treated and neglected as refugees is the same as the way the climate is neglected and abused. It is the symptom of an uncaring society. If people allow migrants to be abused then the brutality grows and spreads and none of us will survive.

We are demanding an end to detention, an end to destitution and an end to deportation. Together we can win.

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